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Your Way to Cologne

So you think that Cologne and its university meets all your academic and personal expectations? You think that this city is the place where you want to live and study for a while? Great! But you are just at the start of your journey to us. We hope we can provide you with information here that will help and guide you through the necessary steps to eventually come to us.

  1. Application

  2. Visa

  3. Tution Fees

  4. Health Insurance

  5. Language Skills

  6. ECTS Points

  7. Semester Calendar


The details of your application process depends entirely on the program you are planning to do. The probably most common routes are listed below. Please pay particular attention to deadlines and requirements which might take you some time to fulfill!

If you want to come to Cologne for an exchange semester via the ERASMUS prgram for exmaple, you should talk to the ERASMUS coordinator at your university first. Afterwards you will need to apply directly at the university for admission. You can find the necessary form and lots of other information here.

The application for the Bachelor is directed to the university as well. All necessary froms and information can be found here. It should be mentioned at this point that the Bachelor Program for Physics is completely held in German.

In contrast, the Master application is directed directly to the responsible departement, i.e. the physics department in your case. The application process for the Master programme is slighty more complicated and more requirements are needed to be fulfilled, but you can find all information on this webpage.

If you are thinking about doing your PhD at the university of Cologne, you will need to contact your potential mentor directly. He will then inform you about the next steps necessary to be taken.


It is not necessary to apply for a visa for European students and students from Switzerland and Norway. In the first week of arrival simply a registration as a citizen of the city of cologne needs to be done at the responsible office.

Students from countries outside the European union need to apply for a visa at a German embassy in their home country. This application process will take quite a long time so it is strongly recommended to apply for the Visum well in advance! Once you are here and a student a prolongation of the visa is usually a very easy and quick task. However, it will then be necessary to provide evidence of financial support, i.e. family, a scholarship or even a job.

Tution Fees

The government of the state Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) just decided to abolish the tution fees. This means that you - as a prospective student of the university of cologne - do not need to pay tution fees. However, there is an amount which needs to be paid to cover administration costs, the ticket for public transport and others. This fee is obligatory and amounts to about 280€ at the moment.

Health Insurance

If you want to study in Ger­ma­ny you need to have a valid health in­suran­ce.

In the Eu­ropean Union, Lich­ten­stein, Ice­land, Swiss and Nor­way there exists the so called EHIC- Eu­ropean health In­suran­ce Card. You can get this card from your health in­suran­ce com­pa­ny at home. It pro­ves your in­suran­ce at home, which pro­bab­ly will ab­sorb the costs of a hos­pi­tal stay, or a con­sul­ta­ti­on.For more and precise information you should contact your insurance company.

If your home coun­try is not a mem­ber of the Eu­ropean Union, or the Eu­ropean eco­no­mic area, con­sult your health in­suran­ce com­pa­ny what to do. It might be ne­cessa­ry to close a crontract for an ad­di­tio­nal health in­suran­ce. Some for­eign health in­suran­ce com­pa­nies are ac­cep­ted in Ger­ma­ny.

The german public health insurance companies offer a stu­dent in­suran­ce for about 70 EUR per month. The contract can be si­gned be­fo­re or right after ar­ri­val. The Ger­man stu­dent union of­fers another, pri­va­te and chea­per (about 30 EUR per month) al­ter­na­ti­ve with less be­ne­fits. It is open for all for­eign stu­dents and stu­dents at­ten­ding uni­ver­si­ty pre­pa­ra­ti­on cour­ses until the age of 46.

Language Skills

Depending on what you do and where you are from you might have prior knowledge of the German language. At which level your German should be depends on the details of your stay here in Cologne. Our Bachelor is tought in German, so in order to be able to follow the courses a good knowledge in inevitable. By contrast, all the master courses are given in English. So the German language is not really needed for academic reasons. However, to feel comfortable and in order to really settle in it is recommended to learn German as well. Once you are here you can improve on your language skills by attending one of the courses given by the university. More information about this can be found here.

ECTS Points

If you are thinking about spending only one or two semster in Cologne, you will need to pay attention to how you can make use of your achievments at your home institution. The important parameter is the European Credit Transfer System. The ECTS was developed by the European Commission in order to provide generally valid and accepted procedures for the recognition of study qualifications gained by students on courses outside their home country.

ECTS credits are based on the workload students need to invest in order to achieve an expected outcome. The workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all studying activities (such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, self-study and
examinations) required to achieve the outcome. The latter is defined by what a student is expected to know, understand and be able to do after successful completion of a certain studying process. There are 60 ECTS credits awarded for the workload of a
completed full academic year. In most cases, student workload ranges from 1500 to 1800 hours per academic year, where one credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of work.

So when picking your Cologne courses you should pay attention to the amount of ECTS credit points that will be given to you!